'New OBCs cornering reservation benefits'

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, NOV. 15. Those agitating over the inclusion of certain new communities in the category of backwards in Rajasthan now say that their worst fears about one community walking away with all the benefits of reservation had come true in the first year itself. The new entrants, officially referred to as new OBCs, cornered the majority of seats out of the OBC quota in the recent elections to panchayats and municipal bodies,they charged.

Mr. Lokendra Singh Kalvi, coordinator of the Social Justice Front, a body formed after the Union and the State Governments accorded backward status to Jats and a few smaller caste groups like Vishnois and Kayamkanis, said here that reservation for the ``most affluent'' farmers' class had deprived the rest of the farming classes and the real backwards.

Mr. Kalvi, along with Mr. Satya Narain Singh, a member of the previous OBC Commission in the State and leaders of Rajput Mahasabha, Brahmin Mahasabha, Mali Samaj and Kumawat Samaj, who met newspersons on Tuesday - which marked the completion of one year of ``struggle'' by the Social Justice Front - demanded inclusion of the rest of the farming classes in the backward list.

The leaders said there was marked resentment over the situation among the rest of the castes over the ``imbalances'' being created by the new reservation pattern.

``If Jats, who were rulers in Bharatpur and Dholpur, could get reservation in the name of the farming community, let the facility be extended to Rajputs and Brahmins and all marginal groups who make a living from farming,'' Mr. Kalvi said. ``Rajputs have turned farmers after the abolition of the jagirdari system. There are many sub-castes of poor Brahmins who subsist on farming,'' Mr. S. N. Singh pointed out.

Mr. Kalvi revealed that in the recent panchayat elections in the State of the seven posts of zila pramukhs reserved for backwards, six were bagged by Jats. In the case of pradhans of the 49 posts reserved for backwards, 31 pradhans elected were from the Jat community. The exact number of lower level functionaries was not available but the leaders said out of 2400 reserved seats for sarpanches approximately 2000 were grabbed by the new OBCs.

The examination for the Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) posts proved worse with Jats now poised to bag a bulk of them. Mr. Kalvi said of the persons selected for interviews to fill 49 posts reserved for OBCs, as many as 174 were from new OBCs with only 35 candidates from the ``original'' OBCs.

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